Monday, April 16, 2012

Rwandan First Lady starts two-day visit

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Ugandan First Lady and Mrs Kagame on a recent visit to Uganda. File Photo

By Henry Mukasa

The First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame, today begins a two-day visit to Uganda at the invitation of the First Lady Janet Museveni who is also the minister for Karamoja Affairs, and MP for Ruhama County.

Sources said that the Rwandan Mrs Kagame will participate in a community service event, similar to Rwanda's monthly Umuganda (community service), geared towards building a primary school at Itojo in Ruhama, Ntungamo district.

The last Saturday of every month between 7AM and 12PM everything in Rwanda stops. All the restaurants, markets, shops are closed while public and private transportation is limited since the entire population is supposed to take part in Umuganda.

Activities usually include: de-silting drainages, sweeping streets and village paths, making composts, building houses, clearing bush land, or any other activity that is helping the country becoming better.  In the countryside, every family has to have a representative in the umuganda in the village.


While in Uganda, Mrs. Kagame and her host are scheduled to preside over the commissioning of a model school at Rwekiniro built by Mrs Museveni.

Uganda's ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero confirmed the visit in a telephone interview. "We welcome the First Lady of Rwanda's visit which is a further sign of the existing deep relations between the two countries and builds on the momentum of our two heads of State," Kabonero commented.

Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame have in the past year been exchanging visits, the most significant was the Museveni's four-day state visit to Kigali and the decision by Kagame and his family to spend the 2011 Christmas holidays at the Ugandan leader's country home.

When she visited in July 2011, Mrs Kagame and her counterpart Mrs Museveni opened Igongo cultural center in Mbarara where the former donated $10,000 (sh23m) to promote Uganda-Rwanda culture.

Like her host, Mrs. Kagame is renowned for charity work, particularly with widows and orphans of the Rwanda genocide and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She founded the Imbuto Foundation which strives for the emancipation of the girl child and genocide victims mainly women and orphans.

Over the last eight years, through the Imbuto Foundation Mrs. Kagame has spearheaded the implementation of several initiatives on health, education and economic empowerment throughout the country.

Mother of four children and wife, Mrs. Kagame holds a degree in Business and Management Science. http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/630380-Rwandan-First-Lady-starts-two-day-visit.html

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